2016 X3 New Car Test Drive
The BMW X3 crossover offers style, practicality, fuel efficiency, safety and responsiveness, with an 8-speed automatic transmission and available ultra high technology. It's got great rear-seat and cargo space, making it a versatility overachiever.
For 2015, X3 got a mid-cycle facelift in the headlamps and grille. The 2016 BMW X3 gets no significant changes. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60, and Cadillac SRX.
Every engine is turbocharged, including the new, strong and eager 2.0-liter TwinPower four-cylinder, with 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. BMW says its time from zero to 60 is 6.5 seconds, but it feels faster. The BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system splits the power 40/60 front/rear, but it can go 100 percent rear-wheel drive when it wants to. But don't expect much if any off-road talent from the X3.
All models come with automatic Stop-Start, which saves gas by killing the engine when you stop, and restarting it when you take your foot off the brake pedal. We think it shuts off too soon and starts too slowly, and BMW's one of the shakiest versions of such systems.
New for 2015 was a rear-wheel-drive BMW X3 sDrive 28i. Also available is an all-wheel-drive X3 xDrive28d with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine making 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque that comes at a low 1750 rpm. The X3 28d accelerates to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, which is average performance, and is EPA rated at 27/34 mpg City/Highway.
If it's speed you want, there's the X3 xDrive 35i, with a TwinPower six-cylinder making 300 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque. It accelerates to 60 in a brisk 5.5 seconds, on the way to 150 mph. It's agile and athletic, astounding for a tall crossover.
This second-generation X3 was launched as a 2011 model and updated for 2015. The 2016 BMW X3 is available with a new Harman Kardon surround sound system and updated USB and Bluetooth.
The 2016 BMW X3 sDrive28i ($38,950) is rear-wheel drive. The BMW X3 xDrive28i ($40,950), xDrive28d ($42,450), and xDrive35i ($46,800) are all-wheel drive.
The Technology Package adds navigation, head-up display. The Cold Weather Package brings heated seats all around, heated steering wheel, headlight washers. The Dynamic Handling Package includes active shocks and variable-ratio steering. There is no X3 M, but there is an M Sport Package with aero trim, larger wheels and sport seats.